Editorial: Honoring America’s civil rights heroes on Martin Luther King Jr Day


Jonny Clubb

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcom X are just a few of many great leaders of America’s civil rights era.

Magnet Staff, Writer

Each year on the third Monday of January, students around the country enjoy a day off of school. Many students use the day to relax or catch up on school work, but that is not the true purpose for the holiday. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been celebrated annually since 1986 in order to honor civil rights heroes like Dr. King and remember them and their fight for racial equality in the United States.

Among the thousands that have fought for civil rights in the United States, a few leaders stand out. The most notable of these leaders is Dr. King. He spent the entirety of his adult life leading the fight for racial equality in America. He served as a member of the executive committee of the NAACP, led a bus boycott in 1956 that led to the Supreme Court’s overturning of unconstitutional segregation on buses. Because of these acts to fight against racial inequality, Dr. King was arrested over 20 times. However, Dr. King ‘s effort was noticed and he earned the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35. Dr. King is memorialized through this holiday as well as with a monument in Washington D.C.

While the annual holiday is named after Dr. King, there are many other heroes that fought for racial equality that Americans can celebrate. These heroes include names such as Rosa Parks and Malcom X among others. Ms. Parks is best known for her role in leading the Montgomery bus boycott. Meanwhile, Malcolm X rejected Dr. King’s message of nonviolence and fought for racial equality in his own way.

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For some, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just a nice day off in January, but for many others it is a day to celebrate America’s change in opinion on racial equality. There are many celebrations of Dr. King’s legacy and the changes he brought about both in Owatonna and throughout the state of Minnesota. The city of Minneapolis will be hosting many events that can be found here, and the Owatonna Human Right Commision will be hosting its annual MLK Day Breakfast at Plaza Morena on Jan. 16 at 6:30 a.m. Students should attend the event if possible, and they should be sure to reflect on the impact of Dr. King’s throughout the day. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a holiday intended to honor one of the great heroes of America’s fight for civil rights. The day can also be used as a reminder of how far the United States has come in the fight for racial equality. Most importantly, though, the holiday is a day for Americans of all races to come together and celebrate the beauty of the American melting pot.